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Braves squander late lead in 3-2 loss to Nationals

Will Smith blows his third save of the season allowing three runs in the ninth.

League Championship - Los Angeles Dodgers v Atlanta Braves - Game Five Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves saw their four-game winning streak come to an end as Riley Adams took Will Smith deep in the ninth for a go-ahead two-run home run to send Atlanta to a 3-2 loss to the Washington Nationals.

Jorge Soler stayed hot for the Braves and staked them to an early lead with a solo home run off of Josiah Gray with one out in the first.

Atlanta tacked on another run in the third. Stephen Vogt struck out to begin the inning but reached first on a wild pitch by Gray. He moved up to second on a bunt by Morton and then came around to score on a single by Ozzie Albies. Andrew Stevenson overran the ball in center which allowed Vogt to score on the plate to make it 2-0.

Gray settled in from there and was impressive in his first start against the Braves. He allowed four hits, two walks and two runs but struck out 10 in five innings.

Charlie Morton turned in another vintage performance for Atlanta. He retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced. Morton ran into trouble in the sixth when he issued back-to-back walks to Riley Adams and pinch-hitter Juan Soto to begin the inning. He struck out Stevenson for the first out but then gave up a single to Alcides Escobar that loaded the bases.

However, he would dig in from there and struck out Yadiel Hernandez and Josh Bell to leave the runners stranded.

Tyler Matzek took over from there and mowed down the Nationals in the seventh striking out two of the three hitters that he faced. Luke Jackson allowed a one-out double to Victor Robles and then walked Escobar with two outs but got Hernandez to fly out to Adam Duvall on the warning track to end the threat.

Things unraveled quickly for Will Smith in the ninth. He walked Bell to lead off the inning and then allowed a pinch-hit double to Ryan Zimmerman. Smith got Carter Kieboom to fly out to left for the first out. Luis Garcia grounded a slow roller to first that Riley fielded and flipped to Smith covering for the second out. Bell scored on the play to make it 2-1. That would bring Adams to the plate who jumped on a first pitch fastball and drove it into the Hank Aaron terrace to put the Nationals in front 3-2. Kyle Finnegan sat the Braves down in order in the ninth.

Atlanta totaled just five hits in the game with Jorge Soler accounting for two of them. They were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Adam Duvall and Austin Riley combined to go 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts. That was just Will Smith’s third blown save of the season and his first since July 1.

The Braves drop to 56-55 on the season and are two games behind the Phillies in the NL East standings. They will try to secure a series win on Sunday when Max Fried matches up against Patrick Corbin.

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